Panther swimmers prepare for Saturday

Adam Shay, Swim Reporter

After two weeks of practice, the Eastern men and women’s swim team are preparing for Saturday as they travel to Evansville, Indiana, for their first meet of 2018. 

The Panther swimmers returned to Eastern a week before winter break ended and have been practicing in what some call ‘hell week’. During ‘hell week’, the swimmers have had not only challenging practices, but a vigorous week-long schedule before school starts.

“They know the first week back before classes is the most intense week of season,” coach Jacqueline Michalski said. “Because they’re not doing anything besides get up, swim, eat, go take a nap, lift, eat, take a nap, swim again, and it’s a week cycle.”

The Panther swimmers begin their day with practice from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., followed by breakfast at 9 a.m. Next, they come back at noon for either a lifting session or a dry land practice, which includes ab workouts or push-up cycles.  Lastly, they end their day with practice from 5 to 7 p.m.

As challenging as this sounds, Michalski and the swimmers believe this is the best way to prepare for Evansville and most importantly, conference in February. 

“It’s the week that everyone dreads,” junior Alex Laleian said. “But it also comes with excitement, knowing that it’s the last stretch of the season till conference.”

There are only six weeks left of the season, meaning all of the work exerted first semester has to be condensed into six weeks, Michalski said. This helps the swimmers build endurance to last them the rest of the season.

“With only six weeks left in the season,  (Michalski) really focuses on making sure everyone is where they need to be at this point in the season by reinforcing those basics,” Laleian said.   

Those basics include keeping true to their technique, as well as getting up and swimming fast. Also, Laleian is able to swim this meet after missing significant time because of a back injury. He has not swam since last year’s conference. 

As for practices this week, Michalski has eased up a bit on the swimmers as they adapt to their new school schedule. This allows the swimmers to go into Saturday rested and to get into a rhythm school-wise.

“I am very strict with how they perform in the classroom, so we took a step back so they can learn their new schedule and to get adjusted,” Michalski said,

As much as the Panthers would like to win the dual meet against Evansville on Saturday, conference in February is the bigger picture.  The purpose of break was to prepare themselves mentally for the next six weeks as it will be a sprint to the finish line. 

“Their job when they’re home for about two and a half weeks is to put themselves in the best place possible for when they come back to campus and to achieve their goals at conference,” Michalski said.

Adam Shay can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]